Thank you for stopping by! Today I’ll be reviewing the first volume — Beauty from Ashes — of the two-volume saga Darcy’s Hope by Ginger Monette.
Blurbing the book:
First, I greatly enjoyed this video blurb. I think you will too. Now …
1916: World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth’s life in tatters.
Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!
When an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives….
Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”
“No comrades, no dog, and certainly no woman!”
But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.
With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent?
Darcy can only hope…
Now for my review:
I must start out by making it clear that I never thought I would like a Pride and Prejudice variation set in a different time period. But I have long been fascinated by world events of the 19-teens, especially The Great War, which completely changed the face of warfare, not to mention the face of Europe, for all time. So if I was going to read a time-shifting variation, it was going to be this one. Clearly the author has done her history homework; the historical points alone are enough to make this a worthwhile read. The story line and writing style also make it an enjoyable read.
As to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet: Their last meetings ended in rancor – altho’ their feelings for each other (Elizabeth’s carefully concealed even from herself, Darcy’s not quite so successfully hidden) continue to pull them towards each other.
When they are assigned to the same field hospital on the Western front, it becomes more difficult to avoid each other and to avoid their growing attachment to each other. Darcy (under the command of his redoubtable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam) is commissioned to investigate and, if possible, expose and destroy a band of traitors. Unfortunately, his investigations lead to the inescapable conclusion that Elizabeth Bennet may be operating amongst them.
Not only that, it appears that the traitors have no more use for Elizabeth and intend to get rid of her.
Darcy, fully believing in Elizabeth’s innocence, is aware that she may be in grave danger, either because of the general belief of her alleged traitorous allegiances, or because she has been an unwilling dupe of the traitors who now have her in their sights. Either way, he feels bound to protect her.
It is not clear at the end of this suspenseful, sweet, and action-filled story (yes, it’s all three!) whether Elizabeth is innocent or guilty of betraying her country and countrymen. We’ll have to wait for the second volume in this two-volume saga for the answer to that question. But we do get to follow along with Elizabeth’s growing acceptance of her undeniable love for a man she swore to hate forever: Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Except for a few cuss words and vulgarities that you might expect amongst soldiers, this is a clean read, with only a handful of tiny typos.
What I liked most: Details of the history of a fascinating period in time. The author’s ability to seamlessly weave our favourite characters into this different time period while keeping the sense and tone of the original story. New characters – some of whom we grow to love while others not so much – who add to the joy and to the mystery. The clever reference to another of Austen’s stories. The accompanying “Elizabeth’s Scrapbook;” you must sign up for the author’s newsletter for access, and you must browse it, the sooner the better. (See below for details.)
What I liked least: The clichéd ending, altho’ it did not seem entirely unfitting. And then there’s my issue with the cover image: From the first time I saw it several months ago I did not like the cover image. Darcy’s eyes are just plain creepy.
In short: Try to ignore the cover image. (Or maybe, unlike me, you’ll like it.) Read the book. And don’t blame me if you end up reading this engaging story well into the wee hours of the morning!
Another five-star read.
Don’t forget to leave a comment about this blog post or this book. Click on the Comments link at the top left-hand corner of this post under the blog title.
PLEASE NOTE that on February 16th, the blog tour for part two of the saga — Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey — will be stopping here at Every Savage Can Dance. I hope you’ll rejoin me then, as well as visiting all the other stops on the tour from February 1 to 24!
Here’s the blurb for this second volume:
Darcy’s beloved Elizabeth disappears.
Then tragedy strikes, plunging him into a dark and silent world.
His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth.
His head tells him to take a chance with his extraordinary nurse.
But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything….
*Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is a sequel to Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.
Meanwhile, connect with Ginger Monette:
Website (where you can sign up for her newsletter and get the key to unlocking Elizabeth’s scrapbook).
I look forward to seeing you again soon at Every Savage Can Dance. Happy reading!
And … if you haven’t already got your copy of Desperate Hearts, you can order a kindle copy here.
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